Executive to discuss further restrictions on Thursday: Health Minister Robin Swann to submit paper setting out officials’ advice

Stormont ministers are set to discuss further coronavirus restrictions on Thursday, it has emerged.

By Niall Deeney
Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 3:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 4:50 pm

Health Minister Robin Swann is to take a paper to the Northern Ireland Executive on Thursday, containing the recommendations of Northern Ireland’s chief medical and scientific advisors on the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been calls from the British Medical Association in recent days for increased measures to tackle the number of coronavirus infections in Northern Ireland.

And the chief executives of all six of Northern Ireland’s health and social care trusts have issued a warning to the public that the health service could be “overwhelmed” in the New Year by a spike in coronavirus infections.

Robin Swann

Mr Swann said in the Northern Ireland Assembly today that the two-week limited lockdown which came to an end on Friday had seen a “stabilisation” of the virus.

But, the minister said, the figures remain too high.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride, meanwhile, told the media during a briefing on Tuesday that “we are not where want to be” in terms of how the virus is spreading.

Dr McBride said: “I think the public know that any time we make a relaxation to any of the restrictions the transmission goes up. What we now know and have seen is that we are not where we want to be in terms of the levels of transmission of this virus.

“The Minister has said he will be taking a paper to the Executive on Thursday in relation to the current situation and the requirement to look at further restrictions.

“Ultimately, [Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Ian Young] and I will be providing our advice to inform any paper to the Executive.”